Cash for squirrel tails? Wisconsin shop lures hunters with money
Pennsylvania hunters: Don't just throw away your squirrel tails this hunting season.
Mepps, an iconic lure shop located in Wisconsin, is offering money for squirrel tails. Mepps has a storied tradition of using squirrel tails as fishing lures.
Todd Sheldon, the father of current Mepps president Mike Sheldon, started the practice of using squirrel tails as fish lures back in 1951. He ran into a younger fisherman that was using Mepps lures, but the only difference was he had a squirrel tail tied to the hook. The lure attracted a lot of fish.
After that, Mepps tested various different animal hair and furs and found squirrel tails to be the best.
Since then, Mepps has had the same consistent prices for various tails for decades. The prices can be found here. Their big focus has been on practicing sustainability.
"We do not condone the killing of squirrels just to get the tails or anything like that," said Nik Kolbeck, the head of Mepps marketing. "We want you to fully recycle the squirrel if you are going to send those tails to us."
Mepps has guidelines it follows to determine how much money it will give for tails.
"We have a grading system ... we determine the cost and we reimburse the the costs," Kolbeck said. "If they want cash, we give them raw value of the tails. ... If they send 50 or more tails, the shipping is reimbursed."
If the potential squirrel tail sender has removed the tailbone, then they will be rejected. Tails without bones curl into balls in the washing machines they use, which renders the tails useless.
One club in Pennsylvania annually sends 700 to 800 squirrel tails to raise money for stocking the trout in a river nearby according to Josh Schwartz, Sheldon’s Inc.’s communications director (parent company of Mepps).
Mepps makes ten lures out of one tail. In an average year, they make 150,000 lures out of the tails.
The average price of squirrel tail lures is about $6-8.
Information on what Mepps looks for in squirrels, potential pricing, and more can be found here.
The Green Bay Press Gazette contributed to this story
Shreyas Laddha is the Sports Life and Outdoor Reporter for the York Daily Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @shre98